Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder if I am totally screwing up as a mom. When the kids bark at me to get them something, when they snap an order at me. I don’t ever jump, rather I correct the behavior but it becomes an endless battle that usually results in some sort of snotty attitude from Sporty or a tantrum from Young Jedi. And just when I think I’ve totally screwed them up and I wonder what happened to the kids that used to say please and thank you for everything or in Sporty’s case “No thank you please,” I receive this,

You see, I had to be up at 4:45, that’s in the am folks, Saturday and Sunday to get Sporty to her softball games. Papa Bear doesn’t move so fast and we weren’t waking the bear aka Young Jedi, so it defaulted to me. As she snapped at me throughout the day and gave me attitude, I wondered why I woke up early and skipped my spin classes, she presented me with the above letter. I took a big sigh and realized, maybe I’m not screwing up so badly after all but we still need to work on her spelling!

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A decade

It’s hard to believe it is a decade this month that we got Sporty’s Clubfoot diagnosis. It feels like yesterday that my head was a blur with things like “birth defect,” “worried,” “she’ll be able to walk but never compete with her peers athletically,” and “we recommend an amniocentesis to rule out other genetic disorders.” I can still feel the amnio needle piercing my skin and pulling out fluid, my head buried in Papa Bears arms too afraid to look at the screen and see that needle come within centimeters of Sporty. But here we are 10 years later and the joke is on that perinatologist that struck the fear of God in Papa Bear and I. If only I had a crystal ball to look into the future back then. To save myself the sleepless nights worrying about her arrival (cause I needed sleep then to make up for Young Jedi’s lack of sleep), to enjoy infancy and not focus on treatment so much. To see the strong, athletic girl that we are constantly shuttling to activity after activity.

10 years ago I was on bed rest waiting for our amnio results. This weekend, we’ll be at softball games all weekend watching her first softball tournament on her new team. Watching her take the field never gets old because I know our story could be much different. I know we’re lucky that, despite her tough case of clubfeet, she’s pain free and she has full mobility. I used to wonder “why us?” I now look at her clubfeet as a reason. I feel like we were given clubfeet for a reason. Sporty is now embracing her feet. She recently shared her journey with her new class. She could have chosen something else to share. This move could have been her fresh start. No one at her new school knows about her casts, braces or surgeries, and she could have kept it that way, but she chose to share her journey. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, to raise a girl born with a difference and to embrace and accept it. She’s who she is, clubfeet are a part of that, they don’t define her but they certainly have helped shape her resilience, her strength and her courage. I don’t ever want her to be ashamed of how she was born and so far she doesn’t seem to mind her difference. And as for us, if we can help new parents and show hope for the future, then the countless trips to the orthopedic surgeon, the hours spent shuttling her from activity to activity, if they give hope to another family. It’s all worth it. So here’s to a decade with clubfeet in our life. I really couldn’t imagine Sporty or our lives any other way!

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Call Me Cray

But I love a good monsoon. Obviously I don’t like the damage and destruction they can cause but I love the cooler temperatures that they bring and they seem to “reset” the desert. I love watching the lightening light up the sky and since they’ve been pretty common since we got here, I’ve learned to appreciate them. They usually also keep the wildlife at bay though this morning Wookie and I had a coyote encounter on the way home from our bus drop off.

Wookie and monsoons…not a fan! This was last weeks big storm when Poppa Bear had to take him for a walk and a huge boom of thunder hit while he was on his walk. We need to get him some Pet Ease or something to help his anxiety with the storms.

Last night we had another pretty big storm. Lots of damage that is no good (and the phones at the school have been out all day) but during the storm the temperature dropped from 98 to 68 degrees and it was soooo refreshing. So after I put the kids to bed, I grabbed some wine and sat on our (covered) front porch and enjoyed the sound of the rain and thunder and the cooler temperatures.

A neighbor texted to make sure we were home safe and pretty soon she and her husband were over and we were drinking wine and getting to know each other better. We used to do “court wine” in our neighborhood in California and that’s how all of the moms really got to know one another and our evening last night brought me back to those days and made me feel a little less homesick.

Nothing like a good storm, wine and good people to make an evening!

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Goodbye Summer

Vacation that is because it seems like the heat is here to stay for a while. Maybe forever which makes me want to cry. I made my way down to the shopping area today and walked in and out of Lululemon because it was too hot to try clothes on, and I have a gift card burning a hole in my pocket AND drum roll please….I was ALONE because today I sent Sporty and Young Jedi off to school for their first days of 4th and 1st grade.

The bus rolled up around 8:15 but our morning started much earlier because there were lots of nerves. Young Jedi was up and dressed by 6:30 🙄 and Sporty was up and dressed by 7:00. Now before you think, well they must want to wear their super cute new back to school outfits…nope, they wear uniforms to school this year. They were ready to leave the house at 7:45 and I could only stall them until 7:55 so off we went to the bus stop, where we stood for 20 minutes, it was already 90 out so we also sweated.

There were lots of nerves, new school, riding the bus, no parents beyond the gates but they walked to the bus and climbed up while Momma Bear choked back tears. The coddling mom in me wanted to be at the school and reassure Young Jedi and talk to his teacher but I know deep down this is probably really good for both Young Jedi and I! I need to teach him more independence and I think if he can do this, it will help his confidence. Meanwhile, I did a 6+ mile run (on the air conditioned treadmill) with no interruptions, other than the dog barking for 20 minutes because the very ferocious inflatable unicorn was in the pool and looked very threatening to his 11lb self. Then I went shopping by MYSELF! And now I’m sitting and counting down the minutes until the bus arrives back to the neighborhood, hopefully with my children on it!

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Somehow this summer has come and gone. All of it. Without one single post about travel ball for Sporty. I blame the move but in reality I’m hanging my head in blogging shame. Here’s the recap.

We had tournaments every weekend in June. First tournament they took 2nd place. Last tournament that Sporty played in they took 1st place. She had a blast and I know the friendships she developed will stick forever, 6 weeks later she still tells me she misses her Phantom teammates.

We moved to Arizona on July 2 and it’s been hotter than Hades since we got here. Like I’m sick of sweating! Wookie won’t go potty in our grassless backyard which means a walk to he park four times a day…when it’s 108. I’m sick of sweating! But I think once people come outside, we’re going to like our neighborhood. One neighbor invited me over to drink wine with some of the other moms and there are a ton of kids in our neighborhood. And the moms like wine so let’s be real, that’s what matters.

The kids have been going to camp at our health club and love it. Sporty made a bestie who goes to her school and is super sweet and she has a little brother a year old than Young Jedi. They are a super nice family. Even Young Jedi is enjoying camp and he usually doesn’t have much positive stuff to say but he enjoys it.

Sporty started hitting lessons a few weeks ago and the coach is pleased with her progress! She has also tried out for a couple of club softball teams and is now a member of the Scottsdale Diamonds. She is so excited!

Wookie is not a fan of the desert nor of monsoons, we’ve had a few since our move here. They are no joke!

Our favorite family evening activity has been scorpion hunting at the neighborhood park. By hunting, I mean we shine our black light on them and then run in disgust.

Last night we had Meet and Greet at the new school which means summer is over!!! I’m not so secretly doing the heel clicking happy dance. School starts Tuesday, 1st and 4th grades. Both of kids’ teachers seem awesome and while Young Jedi has a lot of anxiety about the new school year, I think it’s going to be a good year. Sporty of course is excited and has already made friends. A girl from her softball team is even in her class!

And that my friends, is an entire summer and a cross state move, cliff note version!

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Good bye House on Old Westbury Way

Today is packing day and tomorrow is moving day, or at least that’s the plan. We got a call at 6pm last night that they didn’t have packers, luckily I was trying to finish off some wine with neighbors so I took the news much better than I probably should have. After some conversations today, with the company, Poppa Bear’s company and the owner of the moving company, the packers arrived at 12:15. But now there’s no truck to move our stuff available tomorrow, even though our corporate move has been planed for well over a month, so not sure when or how it’s arriving in Arizona. Stressful much!

But goodbye house on Old Westbury Way. House full of 11 1/2 years of memories. Our first house, our house that we came home to as newlyweds. Our house that for many years we could barely afford but we made it happen. A house where our family was established. It’s seen job changes, promotions, and me leaving work to stay home as a full time mom. Our house where we learned about Sporty’s clubfeet and cried for a weekend on the couch. A house that both babies were brought home to. A house where there were first steps, first words and pretty much firsts of everything. A house where we said goodbye to our first furry four legged kid and welcomed our Wookie boy. A house full of school projects, birthday parties and friends making slime in the kitchen. A house where there are probably fossilized Nerf bullets behind furniture and in window sills. A house that has taken the brunt of Young Jedi’s lightsaber practice more than once. A house full of tears and a house full of laughter. A house that’s not just a house but has been a home in a neighbor with not just neighbors but neighbors that are like family, a village. Our village that has kept me afloat for the past 6 months. The village that I dread saying goodbye to even more than I dread saying goodbye to our house and all of the memories that we leave behind.

Goodbye house on Old Westbury, you will always hold a huge space in my heart.

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Stretch It Out

It’s been a crazy month with preparing to move (we fly out Monday! Eek!) and balancing travel softball so my blogging has fallen off track but Sporty got her new dynasplints this week. Hoping these give us the stretch we need. I’ve got to say they look pretty archaic but if they do the job I guess I’ll let the lack of technology slide. Sporty has taken to them sooo quickly considering she hasn’t been in a brace for almost 6 years! She’s slept with them the past few nights with zero issues and she says she feels the stretch! Now the tough part comes with trying to fit them in a suitcase to bring to Arizona cause they are bulky!

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Bucket List #3

Today’s bucket list was our favorite movie theater with the super comfy luxury loungers with extra buttery popcorn (so not part of my cleanse but oh so delicious). We saw The Incredibles 2 and well it was incredible! No seriously, it was so good, I stayed awake in the luxury recliners, the entire movie. Young Jedi didn’t have a great day, in fact, we had one of those days reminiscent of a year ago when he wanted to run away and I couldn’t do anything right or anything to calm him down, so I was exhausted but I bought the tickets over a week ago so we couldn’t skip the fun activity. Poppa Bear left for Arizona today, we move in 11 days, he went to bed at 10pm last night and was up at 6am. All of those together combined for a super hard day, but I stayed awake for the entire movie so I definitely recommend it. It was so well done, Jack Jack was super cute, and they nailed the feelings of a stay at home parent! Two thumbs up from me, Sporty and Young Jedi on it!

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Bay Area Bucket List Part 2

Today we headed back into San Francisco for something that the kids have wanted to do for a loooong time…Alcatraz!

We drove in again and I was totally prepared to park in our normal garage and walk the mile down to the Alcatraz landing but Young Jedi wanted to park closer and not walk, go figure. This was way out of my comfort zone but I didn’t want the kids to miss out because I’m a big suburban wuss, so I put on my big girl pants, turned on my Google Maps and hoped for the best. So we’re stuck on the Bay Bridge in traffic and of course Young Jedi has to pee. So I try to get through he city as fast as possible (that’s a joke right there because you can’t get through San Francisco fast, AT ALL!). I finally found a garage with a Starbucks across the street, which also fit the requirement of being close to the Alcatraz dock. We park, run to Starbucks and they have no bathroom! What!?! Starbucks and Nordstrom are my go to public potty places. They direct us to the Levi Corporate building. So we rush over there, because of course he has to go really really bad! Anyway, it turned out an added bonus to our bucket list day cause Levi’s is an icon in SF but we’ve never thought to go in there. We peed and then wandered around for a few. It was cool even though I had to explain what Levi’s are to my kids. Lol. I’m like “it’s like gap, but different, or old navy, but different.” They even have a museum so they wandered around that a bit.

Then we were off to the ferry launch. The kids were beyond excited to go not only on the boat but to Alcatraz! Young Jedi was all about standing and taking in all of the sites and sounds and even smells (dead fish smells that is!). Lol. But he looked so happy standing at the edge of the boat seeing San Fran get farther away and taking in the Golden Gate Bridge and watching Alcatraz come into sight. He even spotted dolphins swimming in the bay which sent everyone running to gather around him as he showed them all what he spotted.

Sporty was a little more nervous but I finally got her to pose for a picture while she was up looking for the dolphins. Doesn’t Young Jedi just look soooo happy here!?! I love seeing it because it usually looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Once we were on the island, they were in awe of everything. We did the whole audio tour and Young Jedi was completely engaged the entire time. It had been 15 years since I had been out to Alcatraz so I loved hearing the tour. I forgot how great of a tour it is but also how eerie it is. Sporty was too creeped out to go in the cells, I had to do a lot of coaxing to get the pictures I got, but Young Jedi is always up for humoring me with a good photo opportunity.

It was a beautiful, great day in the city. Our last one as residents. But I will say, I will not be missing driving in the city or Bay Area traffic. It was a long 2 hour drive home but it was full of laughter after a fun day checking off another item from our bucket list!

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Time For A Checkup

Friday we made our way to Dr Fluffy Unicorn for a checkup, our first in almost a year, 10 months to be exact. I had some concerns going in, I made Sporty wear her old sneakers so he could see her wear on them. There was no wear on the sides so I wasn’t concerned with a relapse per se but I had seen her left foot twitching in while she ran and based on the wear on her shoes and what I’ve seen, she’s doing a lot of toe walking.

It was an emotional visit to say the least. We had to tell Dr Fluffy Unicorn that we’re moving to Phoenix next month, though we fully intend to travel back to continue his care with Sporty. Poppa Bear and I both agree at this point there is no one we’d trust with her feet other than Dr Fluffy Unicorn. Sporty also signed a softball that read “Clubfeet can’t stop me from doing what I dream to do, thanks to you.” She gave this to him along with a picture of her catching in the hopes that he can show it to other Clubfoot families and give them hope that their Clubfoot family member will life their best life ever. This got the waterworks flowing, we had a full house in our room too. She also showed him our Clubfoot day video. Dr Fluffy Unicorn couldn’t believe how hard she hit the ball in one of them clips in the video. They definitely have a mutual respect for each other.

On a less positive note, Sporty is doing too much toe walking. Her Achilles are fine, he could push on them and they had bounce so they’re not the problem but her stiffness is in her ankles so after much discussion and debate, we’re going to try a Dynasplint which will provide flex while she sleeps and hopefully give her enough flexibility that solves some of our issues. I googled the brace and she’s going to hate them. But it beats a cast and definitely beats another surgical procedure and she can wear th and still play softball and soccer during the day and stretch them feet at night. The issue isn’t horrible but like I told Dr Fluffy Unicorn, she’s living her best life, she’s able to do all of the things she loves, she can play 3 softball games a day, 2 days in a row, catching 2 innings a game and walk away pain free and to me, this means we’ve been successful in what we set out to do with her but if I can give her one more thing to make her future pain free and let her keep enjoying life, then let’s do it. So we’re awaiting brace delivery. And the good news about trying the brace, we’re back in 6 months so all of our Bay Area friends can prepare for a December 14 visit!

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